US appeals court rules Danny Lee Hill cannot be executed for ’85 murder of Warren boy

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The court determined Hill to be intellectually disabled, having the moral development of a 2-year-old

(WYTV) – The United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Danny Lee Hill, accused of killing a young boy in Warren decades ago, cannot be put to death.

Hill was convicted in the 1985 attack, rape and murder of 12-year-old Raymond Fife. He was 18 at the time.

Even though Hill was sentenced to death, he argued he couldn’t be executed because he has developmental disabilities.

Sitting on Death Row: Danny Lee Hill

Hill has been appealing his death sentence for over two decades.

The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals referenced three psychologists who determined Hill was intellectually disabled.

At the time of Hill’s trial, his IQ was very low and he had the moral development of a 2-year-old, the court said. It also said throughout childhood, Hill struggled to take care of himself and learn in school, as well as having behavioral issues.

“The evidence that Hill is intellectually disabled is overwhelming,” court documents say. “Nevertheless, the state courts and the experts they retained failed to grapple with this extensive social history, choosing instead to favor the accounts of prison guards and personal observations.”

It said he received the death sentence because at the time, his disability was a point in his favor in the sentencing calculation, it wouldn’t have prohibited execution.

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